Effect of Shield Gas on Surface Finish of Laser Powder Bed Produced Parts
Additive manufacturing (AM) of metals is a novel manufacturing technique that allows for net-shape or near net-shape parts to be produced quickly. Within additive manufacturing a large concern is the produced surface finish, especially for upward and downward facing surfaces on complex geometries. Surface finish is of utmost importance for many engineering applications. In melting of powders, the gas used dominates the thermal conductivity of the metal powder. Manipulation of the type of shield gas may provide a means to modify the surface finish without adjustment of established lasing parameters and thereby produce a higher quality part with minimal post processing. These results have potential applications in aerospace, automotive, and biomedical sectors where surface finish requirements coupled with complex geometries are extremely common.